STARS and Assessment at Todmorden High School

Over recent years the DfE have removed the requirement for schools to use prescribed ‘levels’ to reflect attainment and progress, this is to allow schools to develop their own approach.

At THS we have come up with an assessment system that:

  • Shows progress.
  • Gives regular feedback to parents.
  • Translates into meaningful grades.
  • Leads eventually to GCSE grading.
  • Is easy to understand.

At KS3 grades will build towards the new GCSE grading system of 1-9. (with 9 being the highest). At KS4, using KS3 grades as a stepping stone, grades will align with full GCSE grades and subject assessment objectives. These assessment objectives are the criteria that are used by the examination boards to award GCSE grades.

See the following link that explains the new 1-9 grade system:

or watch the video at the bottom of this page.

We have used the grades given for national KS2 tests to set end of key stage target grades for each year group (with the exception of year 11 who will retain their target grade from the previous system).

In Year 7 a pupil will typically  start with ‘grades’ 1, 2 or 3 in most subjects, although in some subjects it may be deemed that they are working towards the baseline grade of 1.

Because we know the level that a student comes with (from KS2) and we know where we want them to be by the end of year 11 (with a grade 4 or above) we can track their progress on this journey. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘flight path’. However, students do not learn in a linear way and there may be times when progress is rapid or more gradual.

A2L (Attitude to Learning) grade descriptors

A1 These learners hand work in on time and produce it to the highest level of which they are capable, including home learning. They have often done more than is asked and have a positive attitude at all times. These learners will have never received a ‘formal warning’.
A2 These learners almost always hand work in on time (allowing one or two late submissions in a cycle) and usually produce it to the highest level of which they are capable, including home learning. They are positive in class and contribute to a good classroom ethos. These learners may have received a ‘formal warning’ on one occasion.
A3 These learners are causing concern. Their attitude is below that expected from learners at Todmorden High School. Teachers sometimes have to intervene to make sure the learner completes the work expected of them due to a lack of consistency and effort.

Any of the following may be a concern:

·         They may be preventing others in the class from learning

·         They may not complete home-learning tasks

·         They may be late to lessons

·         They may be poor attenders

·         They may have been isolated or removed from a lesson on more than one occasion.

A4 These learners’ efforts regularly falls below a satisfactory standard. This is a serious concern, where the student routinely demonstrates poor levels of effort or disruptive behaviour. This will not be awarded lightly or as a result of a one-off incident. The class teacher will have discussed the issue with the learner, Head of Subject, Learning Manager and carer/parent via the student journal, by letter or by telephone.

Above can be seen how a student in year 7 with a KS2 score of 100 might typically make progress through the key stages.

It would be typical that by the end of Year 7 pupils should progress to grade 2 to 3 in most subjects (depending on their initial starting point).

In every subject your son/daughter will have been set a target grade. This is a grade that the school believe they are capable of achieving by the end of a key stage. Target grades are meant to be challenging but achievable and should not act as a ceiling.

Parents will be able to see target grades on the STARS report; however, pupils will also have them written in their exercise books or folios by teachers. They will generally be raised at the end of a key stage.

If you have any further queries regarding STARS and Assessment, please email our
Senior Assistant Head teacher, Alice Coates.

The new GCSE and grading: key information

As you may or may not be aware GCSEs in England are changing. The courses and exams have been changed to ensure that young people have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the 21st Century. The new GCSEs will ensure that students leave school better prepared for work or further study. They cover more challenging content and are designed to match standards in the strongest performing education systems elsewhere in the world.

Please find attached here some key pieces of information for you to consider regarding your childs GCSEs and grading in light of these changes.


GCSE Factsheet

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